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Beyond the Glass Feature: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry

Valerie Madison of Seattle-based Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry didn’t plan on entering the jewelry industry. In college, she pursued environmental science due to her deep love and respect for Earth, but along the way, she started making jewelry between classes and on weekends.

“I had a knack for it and knew my passion could take me far. After college, I continued making jewelry and made the leap to full-time designer and business owner in 2014,” she explains. “Making jewelry felt right early on, so I started planning for a future in it.”

 

Simple and Clean

Valerie designs one-of-a-kind engagement rings and works with clients across the country on custom designs. “I’ve developed a collection of modern, minimalist jewelry inspired by classic designs and new ideals,” she says.

“We offer gemstones and educate clients about what stones fit their lifestyle best,” she explains. If they’re looking for a specific shade or shape? “We can usually find that gemstone when they’ve been told elsewhere it’s impossible.”

Drawing on her respect for gemstones, science, and the natural world, Valerie put her expertise to use to make one thing a priority for her jewelry: responsibly sourced materials.

 

With a Purpose

“I’m a natural researcher, so I researched gold mining and its effects on habitats and communities. I realized I could apply environmental responsibility into jewelry making,” Valerie explains. “For instance, we use SCS-certified 100% recycled metals whenever possible, and we often use Canadian diamonds. The more we and customers ask for responsible sourcing, the more commonplace it’ll become.”

Even in the Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry studio, this mindset is apparent. A beautifully renovated, century-old building houses her studio currently*. With high ceilings, exposed beams, and lush vines crawling all around, the space is as natural as it is inspiring to her creative process.

Not only is this space utterly enthralling to behold — it’s also part of Valerie’s commitment to minimizing her impact on the world. “Our small studio has less sprawl in our surrounding community, so we make efficient use of our land,” she says. “We love our Seattle community and also the wider world.”

A few others things the team does to minimize their environmental impact include:

  • Using minimal packaging for their products
  • Incorporating recycled diamonds into designs

The recycled diamonds typically come from older pieces of jewelry, get regraded, and are set anew. “I will always prioritize the environment,” Valerie says. “And we’ll always use vendors who are transparent about their operations.”

 

Behind the Designs

Valerie’s creative process always starts with the stone. “My designs begin with my gemstones versus designing a setting and looking for one that’ll fit. I examine the gemstone, searching for special attributes, like iridescence viewable from only one angle, or a geometric profile.”

Once she has a clear vision of how to use the gemstone, she designs the setting, starting with what silhouette will best emphasize the stone. “I keep current trends in mind when designing, but I try to avoid things that may feel too dated someday,” Valerie explains. “We have a strong appreciation for gemstones and look forward to increased transparency in the industry moving forward. It’ll help us offer more gemstone options.”

 

Stuller is proud to support Valerie, her team, and her studio. To ensure jewelers like her have the recycled metals and other products they need, we have an ongoing commitment to ethical sourcing and sustainability, from recycled precious metals to our daily corporate operations in Lafayette, Louisiana.

 


* Exciting news: Valerie and her team will be moving to a new studio soon. Follow the Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry Instagram to watch their journey to a new space in the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.

 

Read the full article about Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in the Spring 2020 edition of Beyond the Glass.




Beyond the Glass Feature: Dana’s Goldsmithing

Dana Smith of Dana’s Goldsmithing had a successful business and committed customers. Yet leading up to 2018, she faced a creative and business crisis that led her to reimagine her store. Why?

Let’s take a look at her reasoning.

 

Realizing Her Vision

Dana sat down to identify the core reasons she needed to make changes with her business, and she came up with three main problems:

  • She was an early Matrix® adopter, yet 10 years later, she was still the store’s only CAD designer. Her long hours meeting customer needs limited her ability to grow her business.
  • She needed at least one more CAD designer, but her efforts proved fruitless. Part of it was her location in Port Perry, Ontario, an hour from Toronto. Few designers wanted to move there. How could she attract them?
  • With the surge of online competition, branding had grown critical, and she needed to identify and clarify hers to ensure the survival of Dana’s Goldsmithing.

After conversations with key staff and family, she started to define the future direction for Dana’s Goldsmithing. Working one-on-one with customers to create custom jewelry was her passion, and it would be the primary focus of her reimagined store.

Dana’s Goldsmithing Reimagined

As she researched store design, several of her industry connections referred her to Jim Tuttle, owner of Green Lake Jewelry in Seattle. His store is well-known in the industry for its unique aesthetic, imaginative integration of custom design, and functionality.

Dana called him, and he invited her to come and visit. She wasted no time booking her flight, and the visit gave her insights into what she could achieve: a customer-centered jewelry space that welcomed customers and put them at ease. She wanted to increase customer interaction with all aspects of the business.

Changes included:

  • 360° cases for an open, connected feel.
  • Two on-floor design stations.
  • A glass wall that let customers see the jewelers at work.
  • More technology: flat screens in the store and iPads for all sales staff.

The renovation doubled the shop’s size and opened up the second floor for an office/design area and a lunchroom.

Just as importantly, she and her staff reviewed all store policies to see if they were in line with their tag, “We make it personal.” Policies that didn’t accomplish this goal were modified to fit — or discarded. Dana says this clarified and reinforced their commitment.

“Working as a team was key,” she says. “We examined what we were saying and doing.”

 

Rediscovering Her Passion

With the store’s new look, feel, and branding, she hired two CAD model makers, three designers, and a second goldsmith. Today, the store communicates the team’s enthusiasm and excitement. They often have 50 to 60 custom orders in their queue, all in different stages of design and production.

Technology has opened up new business avenues. Dana works with customers over Skype, greatly expanding her reach. The result: “We’re all excited about our work and the store. Customers feel the passion, and they love it.”

What are Dana’s parting thoughts? “I took a big risk, and that’s scary. But the results justify it all. This experience renewed our passion and commitment to the business. I think we all feel that our possibilities are endless.”


Learn more about Dana’s Goldsmithing and her business adventure in the Spring 2020 edition of Beyond the Glass.




5 Innovative 2019 Jewelry Design Trends For Autumn and Beyond

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Your customers are always on the hunt for the latest jewelry trends. They research runway trends, scour social media, and watch industry influencers unveil all-new fads and fashions. Luckily, we do too. In fact, we work tirelessly to stay ahead of the curve. Below, our experts have identified five top 2019 jewelry design trends. Incorporate these creative looks into your inventory to keep customers returning for more.

 

Here are 5 innovative 2019 jewelry design trends for Autumn and beyond.

Opal Jewelry Design Trends

2019 Jewelry Design Trends Opalescence Trendline

Opals hold a soft, airy presence. They’re dazzling and delightful, and their captivating play of color demands attention. We’ve seen countless 2019 jewelry design trends that involve Opals and Moonstones set in rose gold or beside warm, vibrant stones. These opalescent beauties are truly a trendy hit among millennials.

 

Fan-Inspired Jewelry Design Trends

2019 Jewelry Design Trends Fans Trendline

Fan-inspired jewelry styles are radiating from every angle of the trend curve. These styles remind us of much-adored Art Deco designs, capturing a balance between simple and striking. Achieve this look with Baguettes and Marquise shapes. Then, add fan design elements to enhance the boldness of any ring, pendant, or pair of earrings.

 

Spiritual Jewelry Design Trends

2019 Jewelry Design Trends Spiritual Trendline

Jewelry is expressive. Offer your customers spiritual styles that hold deep meaning and evoke a sense of inner tranquility. Help them discover their own peace on Earth with designs that celebrate spirituality. Use gemstones, engravings, and negative space to achieve one of the most sacred 2019 jewelry design trends.

 

Celestial Jewelry Design Trends

2019 Jewelry Design Trends Celestial Trendline

We’re over the moon for celestial jewelry trends. Designs ranging from half-moons to star-shaped studs to station necklaces reflect a fascination with dimensions far beyond our Earthly tethers. Encourage your customers to drift into dreamland with 2019 jewelry design trends inspired by mysteries of the night sky.

 

Asymmetrical Jewelry Design Trends

2019 Jewelry Design Trends Asymmetry Trendline

Aim slightly left of center with asymmetrical jewelry designs. From off-set pendants that dangle to mismatched stone shapes, these styles add a touch of edge. Experiment with asymmetrical designs for customers who seek to showcase their individuality.





5 Stylish 2019 Jewelry Trends to Ignite Your Sales and Selection

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We’re always on the hunt for the next big thing. That’s why Stuller’s style experts spend the entire year scouting what’s around the bend in the world of jewelry. Then, as soon as we uncover the latest jewelry trends, we pass them right on to you. The styles shown below will nearly sell themselves. In fact, your only trouble will be keeping them in stock.

 

Here are five stylish 2019 jewelry trends to ignite your sales and selection during the springtime selling season.

Rainbow Jewelry

BTG 2019 Jewelry Trends Rainbow Trendlines

Why settle on one color when you can have them all? Rainbow trends are on the rise and we’re quite thrilled about it. From bright eternity bands to colorful statement necklaces, rainbow gemstones will light up any setting. Stock a spectrum of colors to showcase one of the frontrunning 2019 jewelry trends.

Art Deco-Inspired Jewelry

BTG 2019 Jewelry Trends Art Deco Inspired Trendlines

The Roaring Twenties gave rise to the glamorous and striking art deco style we’ve come to adore over the last few decades. Millennials especially love this style because it makes a bold statement that incorporates both past and present trends. Read more about why millennials are obsessed with vintage-inspired jewelry here.

Updated Halo-Style Jewelry

BTG 2019 Jewelry Trends Updated Halo Trendlines

Halo-style jewelry isn’t exactly the latest trend. Yet, we keep noticing new ways to exemplify this age-old design. For example, adding halos around gemstones or unique shapes like oval or marquise seems to appeal to today’s customers. In some cases, we’ve even seen colored stones, lab-grown diamonds, and moissanite melee thrown into these new halo styles.

Baguette Pendants & Bands

BTG 2019 Jewelry Trends Baguette Bands Trendlines

Do you think baguettes are old school? Think again. This year, these elongated beauties have come into their own by making fun and fashionable statements. Their versatile shapes can turn a delicate gold band into a treasured family heirloom or create vibrant starbursts around center stones for a captivating conversation starter.

Modern Pearl Jewelry

BTG 2019 Jewelry Trends Modern Pearl Trendlines

Pearls lend understated elegance to any wardrobe, but the latest 2019 jewelry trends suggest greater daring. Experiment with clustering pearls together for an eye-catching update on the classic strand. Or, choose a large pearl center stone for customers who seek luxury and elegance.





3 Easy Tactics to Sell More Colorful Gemstone Engagement Rings

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Colorful gemstone engagement rings are having a moment.

 

Whether it’s a gemstone stackable, birthstone necklace, or ombré stones set in a customer’s favorite color, today’s shoppers are using colored gemstones to showcase their unique style. In fact, designers all around the world are embracing the rainbow trend, which makes now the perfect time to sell color in your store.

With this in mind, there’s an opportunity to promote colorful gemstone engagement rings, too. Perhaps your bride-to-be wants to break from tradition. Or perhaps she just wants to express her individuality. This opens the opportunity to bring your stones out of the vault and into your cases to ignite more gemstone sales.

Here are three easy ways to get your customers crazy about colorful gemstone engagement rings.

 

1. Tell Your Stones’ Stories

The ancient Egyptians believed the ring finger had a vein — dubbed the vein of love by the Romans — that ran directly to the heart. Colorful gemstone engagement rings invite certain energies into one’s life and marriage. For example, since pink is regarded as a color of romance, suggest a light pink morganite or pink tourmaline. Or, offer an aquamarine to symbolize loyalty or emerald to signify unconditional love. Follow our monthly Sell With a Story series for more colorful gemstone backstories. 

Colorful Gemstone Engagement Rings Stones Stories

Pro Tip: Showcase Your One-of-a-Kind Stones

If you have some great one-of-a-kind stones in the vault, bring them out to spotlight their beauty. Showing customers these unique colorful gemstones will spark interest and conversation, eventually leading to a custom-designed creation.

 

2. Find Their Favorite Color

Color plays an important, yet different, role for every customer. Each interpretation can take form through a variety of gemstones. While one shopper may draw toward sapphire’s royal blue shade, another may find solace in aquamarine’s light-toned tranquility. Offer a range of colorful gemstone shades to ensure your customer finds the exact look to fit their individuality.

Colorful Gemstone Engagement Rings Favorite Colors Rainbow Stones

Pro Tip: Use a Variety of Color Assortments

Rainbow doesn’t have to mean red, yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple. This year’s hot trend can manifest through bold color assortments, along with muted assortments— even ombrés. When selling colorful gemstone engagement rings, remember it’s all about variety and fun!

 

3. Present a Price-Point Approach

While a large ruby or emerald may cause customers to rethink their center stone choice, remind them of the options available to capture their heart and price point. Suggest a Rubelite Tourmaline in place of a rare ruby, or a Tsavorite Garnet instead of emerald. This provides the uniqueness they crave at a more affordable price. Also, lab-created stones come in a variety of shapes and colors and are a great option for your eco-conscious customers.

Colorful Gemstone Engagement Rings Price Point Approach

Pro Tip: Plan Your Inspirational Layouts

Group your colorful gemstone engagement rings in groups based on pricing. Showing carefully curated layouts is a great way to spark their inspiration and offer multiple possibilities.

Shop more colorful gemstones on Stuller.com





How to Create Stunning Jewelry Case Displays

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At some point in your life, you’ve probably found yourself sitting in the audience of a play. Whether it’s a high school production of Bye Bye Birdie or Hamilton on Broadway, you could have been put off by the production’s awkward clunkiness or rapt in awe at the edge of your seat. Much has to do with the actors and the play, sure, but a great deal depends on the stage settings. Hours of meticulous planning goes into creating a spectacular backdrop that will transport onlookers into another world.

Think of your jewelry case displays in the same light. Your jewelry designs are the stars of the show and the reason people visit your store in the first place. But without proper staging, your products won’t adequately capture the spotlight. Take a few minutes to strategically arrange your cases to accentuate your jewelry and dazzle your visitors. Opt for an underlying theme to unify your product selection — whether celebrating the season, highlighting a color, or telling a visual story.

Take a few minutes to arrange your cases to accentuate your jewelry and dazzle your visitors ✨ Click To Tweet

Know your target audience

Imagine the story you want your jewelry to tell. How can you be an asset to customers in their quest for self-expression? With the next generation preparing for marriage, stay in-tune to what might strike a chord with customers. As a millennial, I find that older store-owners often ask what piques my interests. They know our age market will only grow in the next decade and aim to formulate a fresh perspective. So, the first step in creating effective jewelry displays is to know your target audience well. And while it may be challenging, try to strike a delicate balance of having both mass and unique appeal in your jewelry showcases.

Jewelry Case Displays Stuller Beyond the Glass Pub

Set the stage with greenery

Try incorporating natural elements into your cases. It offers a suave juxtaposition to arrange gemstones set in polished metal against woody elements and rustic stone. And the best part — natural elements cost little to nothing. From river rocks to driftwood, sand to native greenery, step outside to find nature’s greatest gifts. Raw wood tree slices make great risers while fascinating geodes make for nifty trinkets that can be easily sold. Contact your local stonemasons for scraps of marble, granite, and slate slabs. Such rustic elements double as ideal props for photographing jewelry as well.

Shop local

Look to your community for collaboration opportunities. Try pursuing your local art scene and regional craft shows. If you have space, you can feature special works of art on consignment in your cases and around your store. This can enliven the area and reel in foot traffic.

Evoke Conversation

For a more fanciful approach, consider putting personal touches to your jewelry case displays. Do you specialize in vintage style or antique jewelry? Find old books or teacups to add to your displays. Did you join a family business? Honor your family legacy by inserting something sentimental. This gets conversations flowing, and let your visitors identify and connect with you at a more personal level. Not to mention, it will brighten your own day reminding you of your ultimate passion. After all, no one spends more time looking around your store than you do!

Jewelry Case Displays Stuller Beyond the Glass Pub Evoke Conversation

Build, measure, learn

Remember, staging your cases is an ever-evolving process. Use the summer doldrums to begin to transform them. And think ahead for the rest of the year considering different visual avenues you want to take. Don’t be afraid to be selective about the elements you choose. If you’re tired of filler, focus your attention on a clean presentation. Spacing plays a key role in this area. Remember, your jewelry case displays are backdrops, not the main attractions. You want your customer’s eyes to sweep across and see the individual pieces in your case.

Stuller Blog Modular Jewelry Case Displays

Shop modular jewelry case displays at Stuller.com


What works best for you? Do you have any not-so-great experiences you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below, then tag us in photos of your jewelry case displays on FacebookInstagramPinterest!